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The Covid vaccine may not be the nirvana

Written By: - Date published: 12:47 pm, August 21st, 2021 - 151 comments
Categories: australian politics, boris johnson, covid-19, health, Media, uk politics - Tags:

So here we are, four days into the latest Covid induced lock down.

So far my impression is that kiwis are doing what we do and complying with the instructions and getting on with things.  There are some exceptions, rich people with holiday homes seem to struggle with any sort of lock down.  I found the fact that the Coromandel is now a Covid hot spot somewhat satisfying.  All those people wanting to head off but having no where to go …

The progress of the infection is not surprising.  We have gone from a single community infection to ten to 21 to 30 and multiple locations of interest. Northcote, Avondale, McCauley, De La Salle and Lynfield Colleges as well as Auckland University and North Shore Hospital now feature in the media.  This is going to be a tricky outbreak to contain.

The good news is that the likely source of infection has been confirmed.  The possible source case was someone returning from Australia on August 9.

Most of the cases so far appear to have been young people.  Which is good because they are much more resilient but bad because they are much more social.

Over in New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian is upping the rhetoric on living with Covid.  On the same day that 681 new cases were announced she has promised freedom, just around the corner.

From the Guardian:

On the day New South Wales set a new daily record of 681 Covid-19 cases, the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, told locked-down residents across her state there are “exciting things to look forward to” when she introduces freedoms for vaccinated people once targets are met in coming weeks.

At the same time, Berejiklian announced the lockdown for all of regional NSW would be extended until at least 28 August, noting case numbers across the state “are not going where we want them to go”.’

This trick of promised abundant freedom while at the same time extending a lock down that has not worked because the initial response was so timid is getting to be a feature of right wing leadership.  Just check anything said by Boris Johnson over the past 18 months.

The news has provoked a predictable response from the usual corners.  There have been this never ending series of bad takes and some anger which masks the fear that people are obviously feeling.

Like our border system is crap.  Sure the system may have managed 164,932 people through managed isolation mostly without blemish but this has not stopped a few people from grabbing hold of the bull horn and complaining for all of their worth.

And what is strange is that those most critical were also those most critical that we had not opened up our borders earlier to Australia from where the infection apparently originated.

Kate Hawkesby expressed the preference to poke her eyes out with needles rather than watch the 1 pm press conferences.  Kate all you do is get your mouse and close the browser window.  It is not difficult.  Watching is not compulsory.  She also worried about kiwis disengaging their brains.  After reading her column I can only conclude that she has had a head start on the rest of us.

This is the same Kate Hawkesby who last year complained about the closure of the border and how it affected dreams of shopping in Melbourne’s Chapel St or sipping a Fiji Bitter poolside.

She also recently said that she felt

“desperately sorry for small businesses, for hospitality, for the beauty industry, the hairdressers, for school children, for frontline health workers, for those who don’t want to be stuck at home with the people in their bubble.

We just have to take it one day at a time I guess and stick with what we know.”

It is interesting that she did not express sorrow for the old, those with health issues, for supermarket workers or poor people who will be hit hardest.  And I have not heard her express any concern about Fiji, apart from the inability to sip Fiji Bitter.

This morning’s Herald was a shocker.

Steven Joyce asked for some humility.  I bet he had to look the word up in a dictionary before using it.  He complained about the suddenness of the lock down.  Obviously we should have done what New South Wales had done and prevaricated for weeks so that the virus could establish itself properly.  He also wants us to forget about the elimination strategy because it is bad for business.  There is a world full of countries experiences that suggest this would be a bad idea.

Fran O’Sullivan says that the country needs more facts and less podium exercises.  She says the Government should be telling business when it will be returning to level two and level one.  I don’t think that the Government’s crystal ball is working that well.

Claire Trevett chose to criticise the vaccination effort although conceded that a lock down would have happened even if the vaccination rate was 70% to 80%.  She also claimed that the Government had been caught on the hop which is a bizarre claim given that the lock down was effected hours after the initial case was notified.

Many of the critics are saying that the Government has failed because not enough kiwis are vaccinated.  The roll out is slower.  We had the benefit of not having a raging pandemic and could make sure things such as vaccine approvals could be handled properly.  We did not have to rush the vaccine out, nor did we have to corner supplies that other nations need and deserve.  Trying to corner further supplies of the vaccine for booster shots while large parts of the world are still unvaccinated to me is immoral.  And it is not the time of the initial vaccinations that are important, it is the time of the last one.

And the role out is going pretty well as intended.  And we are not wasting vaccine as other countries are.

The doomsayers are asking why isn’t everyone vaccinated now so that we can be like some of the best performing countries in the world like Israel?  Which is struggling with a fresh outbreak.

Israel may have delivered 138 doses per citizen compared to New Zealand’s 53 but it is reeling from a recent surge of infections that is stretching its health system’s capacity to breaking point.

From Meredith Wadman at Sciencemag.org:

“Now is a critical time,” Israeli Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz said as the 56-year-old got a COVID-19 booster shot on 13 August, the day his country became the first nation to offer a third dose of vaccine to people as young as age 50. “We’re in a race against the pandemic.”

His message was meant for his fellow Israelis, but it is a warning to the world. Israel has among the world’s highest levels of vaccination for COVID-19, with 78% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated, the vast majority with the Pfizer vaccine. Yet the country is now logging one of the world’s highest infection rates, with nearly 650 new cases daily per million people. More than half are in fully vaccinated people, underscoring the extraordinary transmissibility of the Delta variant and stoking concerns that the benefits of vaccination ebb over time.

The sheer number of vaccinated Israelis means some breakthrough infections were inevitable, and the unvaccinated are still far more likely to end up in the hospital or die. But Israel’s experience is forcing the booster issue onto the radar for other nations, suggesting as it does that even the best vaccinated countries will face a Delta surge.

“This is a very clear warning sign for the rest of world,” says Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer at Clalit Health Services (CHS), Israel’s largest health maintenance organization (HMO). “If it can happen here, it can probably happen everywhere.”

And if you need further proof then England is also struggling with a further surge of Covid.  The approach of winter may be accelerating the spread of the virus with our without the vaccine.

The conclusion from Israel’s experience is pretty clear, vaccination may not be the silver bullet some are hoping for.  And instead on relying on vaccinations solely a variety of approaches will be required, which is pretty well what our Government is doing.

The critics clearly have a zero tolerance to any perceived weakness.  Which is rather weird because we are dealing with a brand new virus that is mutating and so far has shown that it is able to defeat the best that the most advanced nations in the world have thrown at it.

In the meantime stay safe, socially distance and wash your hands.  And look after each other.

151 comments on “The Covid vaccine may not be the nirvana ”

  1. Andre 1

    There isn't a country anywhere in the world that has achieved a vaccination rate high enough to even get close to herd immunity. Israel isn't really a leader any more, there are quite a few places more fully vaccinated than Israel, although all are far short of the vax rates needed for herd immunity.

    The over-simplistic formula just considering R0 and vaccine efficacy is that the proportion needed to be vaccinated for herd immunity is greater than (1-1/R0)/e.

    To look at just the most optimistic estimates of R0 and Pfizer efficacy against symptomatic infection, if the Delta variant has R0 of 5, and the Pfizer vaccine has 85% efficacy against it, herd immunity should be achieved when over 94% of the population is vaccinated.

    Israel is sitting at about 63% fully vaccinated. About 2/3 of what is needed.

    Singapore is the leader at over 71% fully vaccinated, and approaching 80% partially vaccinated. Still far short of herd immunity.


    Next year when NZ has vaccinated everyone that's willing to be vaccinated, we too will be far short of herd immunity. So the choice will be whether to maintain a closed border, and lockdowns for the inevitable cases that get past MIQ, or deal with some fairly substantial outbreaks like the ones in Israel.

    Personally, I can't see much tolerance for continuing closed borders and lockdowns lasting very long after everyone that wants vaccination has received it. Hell, even the two outright antivaxxers I know don't think we should have closed borders and lockdowns.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      The challenge with that simplistic formula is that it assumes a static environment – ie everyone has been vaccinated to an equal degree of effectiveness at that point in time, and that the virus itself remains stable and does not adapt to the new selection pressure.

      Or to put it more simply, if the 94% coverage you've correctly calculated is the bare minimum necessary to achieve herd immunity in ideal circumstances, then in the real word where everything will be less than ideal – herd immunity is off the table for all intents and purposes. (And remember this > 94% number has to apply globally if border restrictions and MIQ are to be relaxed).

      Now of course nature can be very hard to predict; the 1918 Flu suddenly vanished as fast as it arrived, but on the current facts it looks like we now have to treat COVID as an endemic disease globally. That makes the elimination strategies of places like NZ and Aus untenable for very much longer.

      We've now arrived at the place I imagined we would a year ago – vaccines have proven very useful but not capable of ending the pandemic on their own. And while NZ's initial response going into this has been excellent, we're now faced with some hard choices about how to get out of it.

      • Andre 1.1.1


        That 94% also assumes a homogeneous distribution throughout the population. But the practical reality is vaccination distribution won't be homogeneous. There will be pockets of low vaccinations, while the rest of the population is generally a bit above that average rate (although not high enough for herd immunity).

        So those pockets will get hit hard and fast with outbreaks quite soon after border closures and lockdowns are eased.

        • lprent

          So those pockets will get hit hard and fast with outbreaks quite soon after border closures and lockdowns are eased.

          Yeah, their immune systems get kicked into gear on covid-19 the old fashioned way. Just have to make sure that the medical systems don't get overwhelmed, and we wind up in the medieval and ancient model of plagues (societal breakdowns, increase in warlordism, and economic productivity implications that last for generations).

          But in the meantime with most of a population vaccinated and able to get variant boosters, island nations like NZ and Aussie should be able to handle outbreaks without many issues apart from the odd people getting involuntary lockups as they violate health orders and border shutdowns for serious new variants.

          Land border nations or ones with porous borders and high density populations are generally going to have a much harder problem. They'll have to build much more expensive medical systems of a type that we haven't seen since antibiotics and more industrial level vaccines were developed.

          Ultimately that is what it is all about. Compared to the 19th or even 20th century we invest far more in skills of people than happened in the past. Our systems depend on the skills of people to operate. Economically we can't afford to have the kinds of pandemics running through the world populations in the way that used to be common – not if we want to sustain current population levels or even to let them fall back safely to lower levels.

          RL said:

          Now of course nature can be very hard to predict; the 1918 Flu suddenly vanished as fast as it arrived, but on the current facts it looks like we now have to treat COVID as an endemic disease globally.

          Different type of disease. The influenza ecological niche is opportunistic, short and a pandemic with lots of deaths in ecological terms is a disaster for any one variant of the disease. It will get out competed by a variant that doesn't kill or cripple their hosts or raise their immunity level.

          Covid diseases are the epitome of (large genome) long term diseases. Generally they don't kill or cripple much. But they are specialist multi-species jumpers. And they are almost always endemic once they get a foothold in a species.

          Sure when they species jump they'll usually produce multiple SARS style – that will die out fast because they have too high a mortality. But they'll also produce a variants until they get one that gets endemic. The mortality level of covid-19 is in that order. In a less interlinked economy with the shorter life spans of the 19th century it probably wouldn't have been much noticed. A few fields wouldn't get plowed, and a few journeyman or apprentices would get an early job advancement.

          In our society it would cause major economic dislocations.

          • RedLogix

            Sure when they species jump they'll usually produce multiple SARS style – that will die out fast because they have too high a mortality. But they'll also produce a variants until they get one that gets endemic. The mortality level of covid-19 is in that order.

            None of which I disagree with much – except all this pre-supposes COVID has a genuinely zoonotic origin, and the case for that remains entirely open in my view. What if this virus is optimised for a different behaviour?

            In a less interlinked economy with the shorter life spans of the 19th century it probably wouldn't have been much noticed.

            True. We've tended to overlook the demographic aging of populations pretty much everywhere except Africa as a massive factor in this highly age specific pandemic. How this plays out long term remains to be seen, but it's certainly played heavily into the necessary responses of govts so far.

            • lprent

              What if this virus is optimised for a different behaviour?

              I keep a pretty close eye on what can be achieved in technology areas, and especially in biotech (the scariest technologies now lie there). I'm not perfect at it, witness my surprise the other day as discovering the level of progress at getting the coking carbon out of steel.

              But in my opinion, we don't appear to have the capability of producing anything as subtle, as flexible and as stable as the genome features in covid-19. Another few decades maybe.

              But to be able to do it, you need an ability to program and test the genome models without going through all of that messy testing on biological subjects. To do that you need to have pretty accurate models of targets as well as the relatively simple viruses, and the effects in a complex interacting environment.

              At present those model are (at best) coarse approximations of gross processes for any complex beings. We can do coarse approximations on lab mice, pretty accurate models on some single cell animals like e-coli or some amoebas.

              We know enough to do pretty damaging diseases, or to produce artificial chimera – both of which are going to be pretty obvious at the RNA level.

              I could buy a collected zoonotic jumper escaping a lab, and that needs international monitoring – regardless what China or any other power thinks.

              But to build a virus by almost any means would currently require testing programs that would be unlikely to not be detected outside of a gulag. Eventually even those leak information in the short-term rather than the long.

              However we do need to start planning for the day when we start making better computer generated human testing models.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2

        And while NZ's initial response going into this has been excellent,…

        It would have been better had Our Leaders not submitted to the Vaccines Are Our Only Hope narrative that has dominated much of the globe, and ramped up massively programs that addressed some our most troubling issues. Like poor diets leading to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dental disease etc. Like shit housing (if one is fortunate enough to have a house) that contributes to poor respiratory health. And depression, anxiety and generally crap mental health.

        And there have been numerous opportunities for the Misery of Health to pop in the Time Machine and recommend some good old fashioned vitamin supplementation like what we did back in the day…Vitamin C, Vitamin D (no longer do we have to take the hold- your- nose cod liver oil.)…just to give the Team a wee boost.

        • SPC

          The better drug for diabetes would slow decline to dialysis (and provide greater time to sort out potential pathways out of that status – exercise and diet) and keep those people safer if infected (the same people should be checked to see their Vitamin D levels are high enough – because of their illness they are not walkers and do not get the sun they need).

          Other necessary measures are importing trained ICU nurses to train up locals (scarce like fighter pilots WW2), as well as general nurses to fully staff wards, so we can cope with system stresses.

          I would add zinc (protects cells) supplements for those older.

          Maybe common anti-viral sprays for nose and betadine.

        • RedLogix

          Yes. The observed fact that co-morbidities were such a strong risk factor right from the outset should have led to Health authorities considering the message about improving overall health as well.

          Instead the relatively simplistic demands of Public Health which has necessarily focused on getting us all to to do the same thing, like lockdowns and vaccines, has overshadowed the much broader and nuanced challenge of talking about the science of good health.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.3

        We've now arrived at the place I imagined we would a year ago…
        And while NZ's initial response going into this has been excellent, we're now faced with some hard choices about how to get out of it.

        'Fun' to read RL's reckons on "hard choices about how to get out of it" – he seems to relish second-guessing expert consensus opinions, for example on potential Covid 'treatments' (vit D / ivermectin), and enjoys opining on the unsustainable nature of indefinite lockdowns, while acknowledging that “Only in hindsight will we ever properly understand what has happened this past 18 months.

        If "we've now arrived at the place" RL apparently "imagined we would a year ago", is there any reason not to place tremendous faith in his imaginings about our location a year from now? Consider his remarkable perspicacity on Oct. 2nd – just don't dream "It's Over" wink

        Let's see if NZ can't do a better job than NSW of getting on top of its first outbreak of Covid delta. Here's hoping. Unite against COVID-19

        • RedLogix

          There's a big difference between thinking and following the science which is inherently full of unknowns, conjectures and trials and errors – and the quite different public health agenda which is all about getting everyone to 'listen to the experts' and unquestioningly obey their commands. They both have their place and ideally would work together to take advantage of all the tools available to us.

          That you've set yourself up as some kind of public health policeman, chasing down anyone who dared question the 'experts' is getting tedious.

          How’s your ‘keep it out, stamp it out’ mantra going now? Delta has really upped the cost of that hasn’t it?

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            That you've set yourself up as some kind of public health policeman, chasing down anyone who dared question the 'experts' is getting tedious.

            Really don't believe I’ve done that, but can see how it might be convenient for you to suggest it. I’m simply expressing an opinion; we’ve actually quite alike in this regard (imho.)

            Was just suggesting that if (as you stated @1.1) "We've now arrived at the place I imagined we would a year ago", then this should be cause for much-needed hope; celebration even, particularly during what we agree is a period of heightened uncertainty.

            But if you can't even take a compliment, well sheesh…

          • francesca

            I'm interested in the development of therapies for early stage covid that might prevent hospitalisation, but there doesn't seem to be any action there, apart from groups of medicos here and there who just get piled on

            Most drug trials seem to have been done on hospitalised cases , where covid has already become severe.

            I feel that workshopping has been done to present our public health covid response in the simplest possible way..vaccine as the only hope

            Those who deviate in their thinking or questioning , even in the mildest way get shut down pretty fast and smeared as some sort of Trumpist deplorable covid denier anti vaxxer barbarian

            Not the way to build trust

            • Andre

              There are lots of groups working on drugs for early stage treatment and prophylaxis. Such as this effort from Merck, molnupiravir.

              There are also teams trying any repurposed drug that might possibly help. That's how dexamethasone came to be adopted as an effective medication. After it proved its worth in well-conducted trials.

              But it's very unsurprising the actual success rate is very low. There are very few successful anti-viral drugs, compared to the large number of successful anti-viral vaccines. About the only significantly useful anti-viral drugs I can bring to mind are the anti-HIV drugs – and since they only suppress the virus, not eliminate it, it's a very limited success. They're also eye-wateringly expensive.

              Compared to the successful vaccines against smallpox, measles, polio, yellow fever, rabies, varicella, rotavirus, to name just a few of the more common ones. And now, we also have very effective vaccines against the virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes covid.

              What gets piled onto are the wild claims of miracle drugs on the basis of absolute crap studies that are at best seriously biased and poorly conducted, ranging to possibly outright fraudulent. That then lead to people harming themselves with fish-tank cleaner or horse de-wormers, for no benefit whatsoever.

              • RedLogix

                That then lead to people harming themselves with fish-tank cleaner or horse de-wormers, for no benefit whatsoever.

                That's typical of the kind of sneering response that's totally counter-productive. Ivermectin is widely considered to be one of the most significant drugs ever invented – to the extent that it's discoverers were awarded a Nobel Prize, It's role in greatly reducing a range of parasitic diseases such as river blindness has been dramatic. Researchers continue to find valuable uses for it. Dismissing it as a 'horse de-wormer' merely discredits your motives.

                As for 'harming themselves' – it's one of the safest drugs ever with an exceptionally wide tolerance for overdose. Literally billions of people have used it with a remarkably low incidence of harm. Perpetuating misinformation about people 'harming themselves' is again counterproductive to the point you are trying to make. Again it discredits your motives.

                • Andre

                  Actual tweet from the actual US Food and Drug Administration:

                  … as a response to this developing situation, where recently 70% of the calls to poison control centres were about overdosing on ivermectin.


                  Ivermectin is indeed an extremely important and valuable drug – against worms and other parasites.

                  But nobody, repeat, nobody, has done a reliable study that shows it's of any use against viral infections. The two reliable studies I'm aware of have both shown ivermectin has between negligible and zero effect against covid. The only allegedly positive results came from some junk studies that some gullibles have seized on to push their misinformation agendas.

                  • RedLogix

                    If someone has no access to a suitable human dose of ivermectin – and is stupid enough to try something intended for a creature 10 -15 times their weight and with a different metabolism – then exactly how does this discredit the drug itself?

                    It's like saying we should not drink water because some people drown in it.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      'Stop it': FDA warns people not to take veterinary drugs to treat Covid-19 [22 August]
                      The FDA stressed that no form of the ivermectin drug has been approved by the agency for use in treating or preventing Covid-19 in humans.

                      RL, for goodness sake, we all make mistakes. What would it take for you to tone down your provocative pro-ivermectin stance here?

                      There may be some effective new treatments for Covid-19 available some time in the future – three days ago Andre linked to results from a high-quality trial that found fluvoxamine could potentially be repurposed to combat Covid-19.

                      Anti-inflammatory effects of fluvoxamine are being researched to determine if it can be used to treat COVID-19. It is not approved by the FDA for treatment of any infection.

                      'You are not a cow': FDA begs Americans to stop taking drug meant for livestock as COVID-19 remedy [21 Aug]
                      The FDA said that it is possible to overdose on ivermectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions, dizziness, seizures, coma and death.

                    • RedLogix

                      So the 4 billion plus doses of Ivermectin already given to humans were somehow unsafe because 'veterinary'? Either it will be shown to work on it's own merits or not – it doesn't need people to misrepresent it's well established long-term safety profile over at least 5 decades of human use.

                      The normal recommended dose is in the range of 0.2 – 0.5 mg/kg of weight – but the overdose range is far higher by a factor of ten or more. It's long record of very safe use in Third World countries is a testament to this.

                      From my perspective this reference here covers the current state of understanding with Ivermectin very well – it's even handed and balanced.

                      An even deeper issue, however, is that almost all covid medication trials have been looking for a single “wonder drug”, whereas it is increasingly clear that severe covid is an auto-immune, hyper-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic condition, which in high-risk patients may have to be treated by a combination of drugs (and as early as possible). This is becoming all the more important as the long-term protection by covid vaccines appears to be falling increasingly short of expectations.

                    • Incognito []

                      So the 4 billion plus doses of Ivermectin already given to humans were somehow unsafe because ‘veterinary’?

                      How did you derive that??

                      The FDA said that it is possible to overdose on ivermectin … [my emphasis]

                      The main question still is whether ivermectin is effective and has a role in treatment of Covid-19, either prophylactic or curative.

                    • Andre

                      Your boosterism for the use of ivermectin for the treatment of covid is being strongly criticised because it has been reliably shown to have negligible efficacy against covid.

                      That it has very high efficacy against parasitic worms is utterly irrelevant to the question of its efficacy against covid, which is caused by a virus.

                      As for your reference, Swiss Policy Research, huh? A disinformation outfit right up there with the likes of Infowars.

                      The Swiss Policy Research site has been criticized for spreading conspiracy theories including claims that QAnon was a psyop of the FBI.[4] and theories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.[2][5] German public broadcasterTagesschau calls SPR a propaganda tool.[6]

                      Due to the persistent use of the German letter ß, which is not commonly used in Switzerland, it has been suspected that the creator is not from Switzerland, contrary to what the website title suggests.[7]

                      An article on the Swiss Policy Research site claims "The overall lethality of COVID-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% to 0.3% and thus in the range of a severe influenza";

                      There's plenty more.


                      [RL: Attacking the messenger and not addressing the argument is a habit I am going to discourage. Take a week off.]

                    • RedLogix


                      The persistent reference to Ivermectin as a 'horse de-wormer' or a 'veterinary' drug has zero relevance to it's long and very well established safety profile in humans. Literally billions of doses have been administered over decades – and while it's possible to overdose on anything (even water) – constantly emphasising that it's somehow 'unsafe' for humans to use is a weak, frankly bullshit argument.

                      As I immediately stated next "Either it will be shown to work on it's own merits or not" – and as far as I'm concerned that remains an open question. Frankly I'm of the view that Ivermectin is cheap, safe and was worth trying – and even if in the long run it turns out to be useless then so what? Why all the vehement opposition and shrilling for Big Pharma's 'vaccine only' strategy?

                    • Incognito []

                      @ RedLogix,

                      I understand your annoyance and frustration, but no reason to take it out on people who disagree with you on the effectivity of ivermectin against Covid-19, IMO.

                      I agree that ivermectin has a good safety profile and is cheap, relatively speaking. Whether it should be tried – I think and hope you mean trialled – is a moot point and comes with an opportunity cost. In any case, much time, effort, and money is spent on studies with ivermectin in this context and compelling positive results that withstand scrutiny remain elusive. Personally, I have a problem with the growing ethical dilemma this poses. If you have ever been involved professionally in clinical trials you’d know what I mean.

                      I’ll save the rest for in the back-end.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      …it doesn’t need people to misrepresent it’s well established long-term safety profile over at least 5 decades of human use. RL (@8:08 pm)

                      Hopefully we agree that I haven’t misrepresented ivermectin’s long-term safety profile.

                      Frankly I'm of the view that Ivermectin is cheap, safe and was worth trying – and even if in the long run it turns out to be useless then so what? – RL (@8:56 pm)

                      Seems a far cry from asking "How much blood on their hands?", and provides a welcome example of how stances (can) shift.

            • RedLogix

              If nothing else the vast majority of people resent being treated like children.

            • SPC

              The Governor of Florida has set a system for getting monoclonal antibodies quickly to those who get infected pre (chose not to) vaccination.

              We do not have any here though.

              The touted hydroxychloroquine aids utilisation of zinc (for cell health), which like hospital grade quick uptake Vitamin D helps those with prior deficiency. But it would be better to get the Vitamin D level up and the immune system healthy prior to infection and the same with cell health (nutrition and supplements).

              You could ask a doctor to test for deficiency above – and seek advice about use of anti-flammatory herbs and aspirin (if no bleeding problems) to reduce clot risk and stuff that reduce symptoms like betadine gargle.

              For mine, it's improve chances/health and do not get infected until vaccinated first. And then have the "symptom" treatments on hand.

              We can only hope they find some nose spray that helped stop any viral load increase and some inhaler spray to protect the lung cells.

        • SPC

          Vitamin D is not proposed as a treatment, but having a sufficiency of Vitamin D is important for a healthy immune system (having twice the normal level does no more good than having enough).

          On ivermectin, I have no idea – we’d be lucky if something not designed as an anti-viral for this worked. There is a trial, but most other things floated have come to nothing.

    • lprent 1.2

      Yep. I think that when we get over 80% vaccination rates and the number of newly vaccinated starts falling below the number of people starting to require booster shots. We'd have to have have vaccination or a protocol for kids to get to 80%. But then we start selectively opening up.

      It will cause hospital issues and we will need capacity. But at that point we may as well do it earlier rather than waiting for vaccination holdouts to make their mind up. We can slam down the border when we start getting new variants offshore. Level 1-3 lockdowns for community spreads.

      BTW: Looks to me like an annual covid-19 booster for Pfizer based on the data available at present about it and delta.

      • Andre 1.2.1

        I'm wary of putting a number to it.

        I kinda look more at the vaccination curve. Most countries have a long straight upward early part where those that want it are queueing for it and it's supply-limited. Then there's a knee when the enthusiasts have all got it, and it's the hesitants and reluctantly persuadables starting to get it. Then it levels off with just a few getting vaxed – these would be those that are newly eligible and those jolted into it by events such as job requirements, covid hitting loved ones etc.

        To me the time to start opening up cautiously is as soon as we're sure we're past the knee in the curve. And hope like hell our health system doesn't get overwhelmed.

        • lprent

          That is what I was referring to when I said..

          and the number of newly vaccinated starts falling below the number of people starting to require booster shots.

          The problem is that looking at the information available for the currently known variants of interest and our capacity to handle the inevitable plague amongst the un-vaccinated, then I can't see a point in opening at less than 80% without a massive effort in pushing up medical capacity. Our pre-covid medical system ran with around 20-30% maximum extra capacity above normal levels. Less spare for things like ICU.

          So if you assume some ballpark guesswork about possible spreads and impacts, then

          1 million people (20%) * 0.03 (3% requiring hospitalisation) = 30k people requiring hospital treatment above the normal background load. I haven't ball parked delta R0, but I'd assume we're get that within 3 months. About 10%-20% (reports on that are pretty disorganised) of hospitalisations result in downstream effects from fatigue to 'long covid' with the extended care.

          That may be something that we could handle by throwing organised capacity at it like the armed forces and rapid on the job basic medic training in how to keep people alive. But we have a lot less of that capacity to throw at it than most developed countries.

          Of course the disruption would cause massive dislocations on the rest of the economy.

          Try it at 60% vaccination and the damn thing won't work. The starting point of you population vaccination level is crucial to being able to deal with it. The vaccinated are your people to keep the economy running while we deal with the burden of the un-vaccinated.

          Even at 80% I don't think it will work because there are going to be a lot more waves of this bug sweeping through over the next few years.

          Of course we do have the option of not providing any extra medical capacity for the un-vaccinated to have their 'mild flu'. This is the Brazilian model or the MAGA GOP model for people who don't have good medical cover. But the political effects of that tend towards the catastrophic – people don't like their family and friends, even those uncle bobs who swallowed the kool-aid to die off or to come and visit while they recover.

      • weka 1.2.2

        how does that work? If we don't have herd immunity, won't we have community transmission within days or weeks of opening the border with countries that have covid in the community? Say delta turns up in Auckland, does the government close the border and put the whole country in L3?

        • lprent

          I have never thought that we will get herd immunity with the vaccines with this particular disease. It is a disease whose ecological niche is to be endemic in populations – like shingles/chickenpox.

          Vaccinated can get covid-19. People who have had it before can get it again. There will be enough variants around that we are never fully protected by our immune systems. That is why the various forms of the common cold never die out in any human population.

          People with a strong immune response because of previous exposure are likely to kill off re-infection before it causes them damage. People who get re-infected are likely to be infectious to others at some point. But they will have less of a viral load, so the probability of managing to infect someone else is lower.

          But if you have a large enough portion of any population who have no strong immune response and they can come into contact with enough viral load (effectively multiple cell infections) to overcome their limited immune responses, then you will get what is showing in the states right now. A plague mainly amongst the un-vaccinated. Both from each other, and probably quite a lot of it coming from temporary 'break through' infections amongst the vaccinated.

          This happens all of the time. Herd immunity just refers to the fact that while infections may occur in a population, normally only a few get sick enough for their infection to be noticed. It also means that the rate of rate of infection is low because inside the population, few who do get the disease start producing large enough amounts of the virus load to overload other's immunity defences enough to cause an infection and a re-transmit to others.

          Since we're unlikely to ever get a voluntarily fully vaccinated population, and it costs a *lot* to keep borders closed and staff on hand to cover outbreaks – then at some point borders will open and we'll start dealing with people getting immunisation in the old way. That will be expensive for the economy for those who don't handle the old process well (compared to a few dollars for two jabs). But at some point there will be a trade-off between border closure costs and the costs of handling smaller outbreaks mainly amongst the unvaccinated.

          Full elimination is something that has only really happened to a few diseases – ie smallpox as part of a international campaign.

          Normal 'elimination' is just making outbreaks rare because almost all of the population have strong immune responses to a disease and making it hard to spread and easy to contain. How we get to that is either by an injection of people getting the disease. Never coming into contact with it is purely a matter of luck, that usually people lose at soem point in their life (even if they quite often don't know about it at the time)

    • Gypsy 1.3

      Stuart Nash confirmed this week that even if we had a very high vaccination rate (I think 80% was mentioned), the government would still impose lock downs if there were confirmed community cases. For better or for worse, that's the strategy our government has chosen, so we just need to adapt to it.

      • Andre 1.3.1

        I can't see that strategy surviving a 2023 election.

        • Gypsy

          I tend to agree. I run a business with an octopus like reach into different parts of the world, and I have been developing a strategy for operating in this new world. I can't escape the feeling that we need to learn to live with Covid (and possibly other similar viruses) rather than plan to eliminate it. I would love to be proven wrong.

          • weka

            Am curious what that's like, developing strategy for a future that is so unpredictable.

            Let's say we let covid in, what happens with the next pandemic? What if it's worse in terms of death and disability rates?

            What happens when climate change hits hard?

            Or the Alpine Fault shifts with the Big One?

            How confident are you that your current business model will survive those?

        • mpledger

          I don't know – Melbourne just celebrated 200 cummulative days of lockdown.

          That's what National would have given us by following the USA/UK lead.

          • Andre

            I really doubt it would have been 200 cumulative days of lockdown if all the population that wanted it had already been vaccinated at the start of it.

    • Incognito 1.4

      You might like this, if you haven’t already seen it: https://www.tepunahamatatini.ac.nz/2021/06/30/a-covid-19-vaccination-model-for-aotearoa-new-zealand/

      We should not dismiss the possibility of eradicating COVID-19: comparisons with smallpox and polio

      Is COVID-19 also potentially eradicable? Or is it inevitably endemic having established itself across the world? Commentators have focused on the challenges of reaching population (herd) immunity,7 yet population immunity is not essential and was not achieved for smallpox, which was eradicated through ring vaccination. [my emphasis; see also ref #20]

      • RedLogix 1.4.1

        The executive summary says it all:

        • While there are significant uncertainties in R0 for new variants, for a variant that would have R0=4.5 with no public health measures (e.g. the Alpha variant), the population immunity threshold is estimated to require 83% of the population to be vaccinated under baseline vaccine effectiveness assumptions. For a variant with R0=6.0 (e.g. the Delta variant), this would need to be 97%.

        Personally I suspect getting anywhere near 90% coverage is going to be tough.

        • Incognito

          You seem to have missed other bullet points in the Exec Summary and also the second link in my comment …

          I reckon 60-70% vaccination level in/of NZ is achievable, but anything higher will be worse than pushing shit uphill.

          • RedLogix

            I did read all the bullet points, but the one I quoted is the critical one. 97% for Delta just seems infeasible.

            The other bullet points only seem to add to the uncertainty of achieving herd immunity and eradication in NZ, and as Andre rightly points out, unless we want to keep NZ isolated from the world indefinitely, the problem has to be tackled globally.

            And with everything else going on out there that's a virtual impossibility in our present circumstances.

            • Incognito

              I thought it was clear enough to people such as Andre and you that my two links addressed specific topics mentioned in both your comments: “simplistic formula”, “static environment”, and “homogeneous distribution”, for example. Therefore, to focus on one single parameter and define it as “the critical one” and with a critical threshold value seems illogical to me. As you say, there’s much uncertainty, but simultaneously, there is also more possible than you’d like to think. Smallpox was eradicated without ever achieving herd immunity, for example. It is not the exact same but it provides a paradigm for something similar that could be achieved with Covid-19, at least in theory. Next generation vaccines are in development as we speak and they’ll give us more and better tools.

          • DB Brown

            Dr Bloomfield was commenting today? (Stuff article I read today) that vaccine hesitancy, while it seems high right now, is about 5% for previous programmes (those who flat out refuse them). He reckons the high number of persons claiming they're not keen will drop off. We've seen in the US various peoples saying they're anti-vax and going off for secret shots. Lot of loudmouths in NZ, how many have conviction? If Eastwood's anything to go by they'll drop their nuts at the first sign of trouble.

            I hope Dr Bloomfield's right, and it's 5% (or less). That would put us in a highly enviable position, with easily controlled borders, sharp leadership response, and practically nowhere for the virus to go.

            I'm sure I read it in Stuff, I'd kill for that link right now as it's so pertinent to the conversation. Unless, by luck, someone's dropped it below…

            • Incognito

              This one? Different date though …


              He was talking about childhood immunisation rates.

              • DB Brown

                Yes. The hesitancy in childhood vaccines is from the parents, and that accounts for, give or take, 5% of the population. It is hoped this reflects how many adults will refuse the covid vaccine.

                The anti-vax crowd are nuts. One this morning posted three links for proof Ivermectin works, I demolished them – so he changed and told me that the debunkers of junk science were in on the conspiracy. They just dig deeper holes… And of course play the victim card when I eventually got sick of it and told him where to jump.

                I'm not sure Dr Bloomfield knows the extent of idiocy out there post-internet, but I sincerely hope he's right.

                I read it today, but did not note the publication date.

                • Incognito

                  I hope you demolished their ‘arguments’ and not the actual person wink

                  People are entitled to believe what they believe, but when it comes to sharing it with others as statements of fact, I draw the line and pull them up on it. Usually , that has the same effect as telling them STFU and sometimes as giving them enough rope. Unfortunately, IQ has little influence on people jumping to conclusions, prematurely or incorrectly.

                  • DB Brown

                    I was unusually pleasant (for me) till their doubling down in the face of facts and then being told I'm a 'toxic person', then I let them have it.

                    If these anti-vax types talk others out of getting a vaccine, and those people then get sick or worse, imo, the blame lies squarely with the anti-vaxxers and they should be liable in court.

          • pat

            "I reckon 60-70% vaccination level in/of NZ is achievable, but anything higher will be worse than pushing shit uphill."

            Why so?

            • Incognito

              NZ demographics and based on the numbers of flu shots; this year, 2.4 million doses are coming into the country, which is the highest ever by a large margin. I think, but I don’t know, of course, that once we hit around 60-70% fully vaccinated it will be a long slow tail to achieve higher levels that are meaningful. As Lprent was saying, once immunity starts dropping and booster hots enter the scene, we’ll be lucky to reach steady-state.

              • pat

                I dont know that flu shot take up is a good indicator….covid is causing more concern than flu does….especially delta.

                "However, the number of people who say “definitely not” to vaccination remains relatively steady, dropping only slightly to 8% in May, from 9% in March."


                I can see no reason not to expect over 80% of uptake by early next year (although even that may be insufficient) remembering that children will likely shortly be included in the roll out.

                The uptake of boosters may decline over time to flu levels but Id suggest that will take some time as the memory/fear diminishes.

                • Incognito

                  Ok, that’s a good comment, thanks.

                  IMO, the flu is the closest we’ve got to Covid-19. It is a global disease with a lot of similarities. There’s dedicated vaccination campaign for the flu and yet about 500 Kiwis die each year (except last year!) from the winter flu. MoH aims for 75% of over-65s to be vaccinated, which is the target group of most vulnerable people.

                  Every year the Ministry of Health supports the running of an Influenza Immunisation Programme.

                  The Programme is designed to protect those at greatest risk of serious illness from influenza, who are eligible for a funded vaccination. Detailed information who is eligible for free vaccination can be found on the Fight Flu website.

                  The goals of the 2021 Influenza Immunisation programme remain the same as in 2020:

                  • Vaccinate 75% of the population aged 65 and over
                  • Improve influenza immunisation coverage for people aged under 65s with certain medical conditions, and for pregnant women
                  • Improve influenza immunisation uptake for health care workers: vaccinate at least 80% of DHB health care workers.

                  Following the success of last year, we are also extending the Māori Influenza Vaccination programme to include measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines for 2021, as part of our commitment to improving equity for Māori.


                  The most recent data I’m aware of with regards to attitudes and sentiments of Kiwis towards Covid-19 vaccination is from the end of June, but I suspect and hope that there will be another one out soon. Views about getting children aged 12-15 vaccinated were at the lower side.


                  OTOH, Covid-19 causes more concern than the flu. OTOH, the vaccine type is new to Kiwis and the fast tracking of the approval processes has given rise to some hesitancy; much about Covid-19 and vaccines is in constant flux, more so than with the flu. The fact that the current vaccine was not designed and developed (and tested!) specifically for the Delta variant might not help with uptake.

                  Time is not our friend, I think. Compliance levels drop over time, complacency increases, and positive attitudes and sentiments might wane.

                  It would be great if we reached 80+% vaccination for Covid-19, but I have my doubts.

      • Andre 1.4.2

        I hadn't seen a link to the full report from Te Punaha Matatini, thanks for that.

        That Wilson et al modelling seems to suggest that covid might be eradicable worldwide, with a sustained multi-decade worldwide effort. But for the foreseeable future, New Zealand is an isolated island in a world awash with covid.

        Our question is, what is our path through that future? Given that any engagement with the rest of the world carries some risk of introducing covid, and the more engagement the more risk. But engagement with the rest of the world is highly valued by large parts of our population, and the risk of covid is reduced down to very low levels with vaccination. It's quite the conundrum.

        • Incognito

          As always, it’ll come down to our choices, collective and individual, and whilst these considerably overlap and link together, they are not identical.

          The virus moves fast, not super-fast, but science moves fast too.

          I’ll post another comment later on this.

      • SPC 1.4.3

        It'll evolve, if it becomes even more infectious but no more a threat than the cold, then surviving this period may be all we have to do.

      • SpaceMonkey 1.4.4

        I believe the smallpox vaccine was a sterilising vaccine. The covid vaccines are not. Seems to me the most enduring immunity to covid is only going to come from catching it and recovering from it.

        • Incognito

          Seems to me that you don’t know what you’re talking about, which raises my antibody levels.

          For example, what does sterilising immunity have to do with durable immunity?

          How long does immunity against smallpox last after vaccination anyway?

          Of course, you could provide scientific evidence for your reckons; that would help you and us a lot!

          You may also want to include in your discussion the cross-immunity against new variants of Covid-19. I have to warn you though, any BS and disinformation can attract an instant ban, as my tolerance levels are waning faster than your immunity against the virus.

    • Gabby 1.5

      I'm not sure that the opinions of your outright antivaxxers add weight to your argument. My two friends who believe they are Julius Caesar, think the moon is made of cheese.

    • KSaysHi 1.6

      Bhutan, Cyprus, Iceland, Gibraltar all have high rates of vaccination, although different versions. The data is not good on the effectiveness.

      Someone in our govt machine will know this already and is coming up with a Plan B because it is the best thing to do right now. I give it a couple of months.

    • Incognito 1.7

      Some slightly optimistic views from US public health expert Dr Eric Topol, after a few dire warnings.

      “The beauty of it is that you can learn from everything that’s happened,” he said. “Including the mistakes of others.”

      “So mixing and matching these vaccines – in that order – could be another way to get a really strong immune response.”

      He said cutting edge developments like this may give New Zealand a better chance of getting through this outbreak with minimal harm done. “We didn’t know about that until recent weeks,” he said. “But that’s the kind of thing we are learning all the time.”

      Another lesson New Zealand can learn is extending the time between doses, he said.

      “The countries that adopted the longer spacing helped to get a stronger and more durable immune response,” he said. “That’s why I recommended New Zealand consider using the delayed second dose.”

      Topol is confident that a vaccine like this [so potent it didn’t just cover the many different mutations and variations of the genome sequence of the virus] could be ready in the first half of next year, if states and pharmaceutical companies play ball with one another.

      The above are just selected snippets; best to read the whole piece.


    • McFlock 1.8

      There's an interesting possibility (tw: shitloads of math) that the Israeli aggregate data could be an example of Simpson's Paradox: the overall 'low efficacy' is an artifact of the skewed demographics, particularly by age group (I suspect that when it comes to healthcare, the wider "two state solution" is completely fine for Israel so it wouldn't include the occupied territories with a much younger population).

      Not quite a "nothing to see here" at this stage – only skimmed one thinkpiece on it – but the sky probably isn't falling just yet.

  2. Ad 2

    O'Sullivan, Hawkesby and Trevett were all railing against the air travel restrictions just weeks ago. What happened? Was the price of that accursed freedom worth it?

    Each lockdown just seems to have more and more economic and social advantages for New Zealand. Diving unemployment, more savings and more local local cash circulation, less CO2 production, more praise for public servants and customer-facing staff. Any time soon we'll be restricting wood sales to China and diverting them to house builds.

    Spare me from the right to Duty Free shop.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 2.2

      Amen. Covid’s made me reflect on what's important (to me), and international travel is now off the list, although it would be good to get Dad home from QLD, when he’s ready.

      It's possible I was sufferring from a (very mild) globe-trotting obsession – time to bring back "Don't Leave Town 'Til You've Seen the Country". And bring back the stuffed toys in windows too – suggest sticking masks on some of them to model good behaviour.

      • Andre 2.2.1

        Heh – "you know where Victoria Falls is?"

        On my big trip through Africa, the couple we were traveling with wanted to do the rafting trip below Victoria Falls. So I found a rafting company that was willing to take three passengers on rafts, and lend me a kayak and gear to go with them. It was kind of a squirrelly boat design for those kinds of huge rapids, and the paddle was feathered more than 90 degrees, with no locators on the shaft to feel how the blades were oriented.

        I took a proper spanking. Best terrified fun I've ever had in my life.

        Here's the exact moment I started questioning my choices: (apologies for the soundtrack)

        (None of these dudes are me, but my run was December 98 also and the water level was very close to the same)

    • mickysavage 2.3

      I am getting quite used to reduced hours of work and zooming into meetings rather than being stuck in traffic or driving for hours on end. It certainly more than makes up for whatever it is that I am missing out on.

      • lprent 2.3.1

        Yeah. My new job (that I start in a few weeks) involves one overnight commute a week to Hamilton.

        Having to buy another car for that commute, as the buses are useless to work in and can't routinely carry a e-bike.

        If the commuter train from Hamilton to Auckland was a dual way commute, I'd use that. However it isn't – it leaves Hamilton in the morning and leaves Auckland in the evening. The northern explorer leaves and arrives at times that would cut into my work day too much.

        The rest of the time, I will be working at 'home' – actually a workspace about 300m from home.

        That is so I can work away from my partners zoom meetings with New York, Invercargill, and everywhere else. A 55 sq metre apartment is just too small to have two people working there with completely different work patterns at the same time. Mind you I spent large chunks of last two years on zoom calls from home before going to work. That was to fit into northern timezones. Can't exactly put a zoom room in the bog.

        Might be able to get some much needed work done on this site with a quiet weekend workspace down the road.

        It is quite a different world. I did work from home for years in the late 90s and early 00s running a dev team. Then I’d go to work once a month and run what I needed to over a ISDN and then ADSL line. But the tools are way better these days

    • weka 2.4

      Has anyone done an audit of damage and benefits from lockdown? Not so much the broad economic figures (seen those), but the details of how it's playing out in the community, who is adapting well, who isn't, who needs more help etc.

      There's this automatic assumption that periodic lockdowns are inherently bad and must end, rather than seeing how they can be managed to bring more benefit.

      • lprent 2.4.1

        Just from my own work experience, lockdowns in various countries including NZ have had a really annoying effect on part deliveries for things I was working on. I have periodically been delayed for weeks waiting for equipment coming across the border. Specific batteries coming in from China for the gear I was working on come to mind – ran straight into lockdowns here and took a while to get delivered.

        Also I have been caught with really basic equipment issues – for instance not having a soldering kit at work that would fit in my limited space apartment – and not being able to buy one and get it delivered. Took a while before crucial suppliers like JayCar were able to become 'essential' and have click and collect.

        Same for things that I'd forgotten to get from work before lockdowns. Really basic non-standard things like a 2.5A USB hub, so I could get more power to a hungry device I was working on.

        Each of these cost large amounts of time on my work projects and were outright frustrating to work around. They're expensive projects, especially my time, and they're all orientated towards exports.

        This is starting to get better. However I did have a custom board get stuck in a lockdown problem at Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris for 12 days last month.

        I had to buy a dryer for the tenants in my old apartment (I live in my partners apartment to help to pay her mortgage) after the 23yo one there died. That was a massive pain at the start of a level 4 on ?October? last year. It is part of the tenancy agreement.

        That is just one person. Multiply that by all of the people in just the company I work for, or more generally all the export tech industries.

    • Patricia Bremner 2.5

      devilyes So true Ad.

    • Foreign waka 2.6

      Ad – Absolutely. However, this debacle was completely avoidable if the tourism obsessed wouldn't have wanted a bubble here and a bubble there despite Covid not being contained across the border and vaccination rates here so low. Let alone those who immediately had to take the next plane. And there is of cause Air NZ who wanted this all to happen as their business was dwindling. We all know how many times MIQ was breached. Keeping all of the colourful scale of human behaviour in mind, it is astounding to say the very least that this was not anticipated before we opened the borders. And here we are, stuck in the confines of the home, the freedoms we enjoyed within NZ gone and how many will feel that all their efforts to keep to the rules over the last 12 months are completely in vain. I am a essential worker and it took me 12 months to get my rhythm going within the "new normal". Now we are being asked to reset once more because of we had to open the borders before vaccination rates are a lot higher. And we were warned, we knew.
      My hope is that science will find a way to get this under control a lot easier as the process we have now. Like taking a pill….

      • Ad 2.6.1

        I don't mind unemployment heading down to 3% headline, but it would be great to find a builder.

        Does anyone really know what the global reset will be? Most are a binge-purge cycle of apocalyptic or utopian. I can't even find good analysts having a cold realistic crack at it.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          I can't even find good analysts having a cold realistic crack at it.

          Suspect some "good analysts" had "a cold realistic crack at it" and concluded that their best reckons are not specific and/or accurate enough to be useful.

          Have any good analysts picked a date for the end of level 4 lockdowns? Covid uncertainty fuels the freedum agitators' rage – time for (false) hope/certainty?

          Wake up sheeple,” read one sign at the Brisbane protest.

          "Protesting doesn't work against this virus," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

  3. lprent 3

    Good post.

    Especially the point about the NZ Herald. There are a few reporters and opinion writers over there who worth listening to. But many of then appear to have moved into some kind of Trump like fantasy world divorced from reality.

    Their headlines have descended into clickbait to the point that it is getting really hard to distinguish from the sponsored articles. It just pisses me off when the articles bear little resemblance to the heading. Plus their world and even their business news in the morning seems to mainly be articles that I just finished reading in NYT or the WP or one of my other subscriptions.

    I get that the NZ Herald has a minuscule target audience these days. But FFS – they shouldn't pander to the ignorant to quite this extent.

    Stuff is better and broader in scope than the narrow little viewpoint that Herald favours, I should increase my donation to them. I can't just rely on BusinessDesk which is far better than Herald Business.

    • Agree lprent…so glad almost all NZH is so-called "Premium" content now so I don't have to waste my time reading it.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      It just pisses me off when the articles bear little resemblance to the heading.

      As to clickbait you might like this:

  4. SPC 4

    It may well be that immunity comes from infection and vaccines are the way as many as possible survive infection.

    But there are those for whom that is a risk, and the measure forgotten is temperature checks for entry to gathering places/work. If this variant has a longer (and infectious) period without symptoms – then its the more proactive temp check, rather than the tag in that stops spread better.

    • SPC 4.1

      For mine the future could/should also include rapid result testing kits (home and other place use) to simplify identification and management of infection and hopefully anti-virals – both nose/throat and also inhalers for lung infection to assist in moderating any illness.

    • Incognito 4.2

      Interesting viewpoint, but you didn’t provide anything to support it.

      Although it still is a hypothesis, there is accumulating support for the idea that immunity from current vaccines is better (still) than immunity from infection.



      • mauī 4.2.2

        Is the immunity from vaccines better than the 0.0086% natural immunity reinfection rate they reported in Israel? I would highly doubt it.


        • Incognito

          Of course, you’d doubt it.

          Several fact-checkers disagree as well as many other recent data and studies.


          Better next time 😉

          • mauī

            Forgive me.. but I thought from your comment at 4.2 you provided 2 links, both discussing duration of immunity, comparing natural infection vs vaccine. I thought that's what was being discussed?

            Now you've shifted the goalposts and provided a further link that is more about a risk benefit, comparing natural infection vs vaccine.

            I've read your fact-checking article, there's nothing definitive that proves the Israel data is wrong. Is there? I also find it fucking bizarre that a "fact checking" article would at the first point it analyses the Israel data/calculations, spend the next two paragraphs defending vaccines.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              spend the next two paragraphs defending vaccines

              Pesky experts and healthcare professionals "defending vaccines" – but they're still way better than those sickening anti-vaxxers defending te virus, imho:

              Doctors: Breakthrough cases shouldn’t undermine confidence in coronavirus vaccine [7 August]
              Data compiled by the state Department of Public Health shows that from February to July, rates of coronavirus cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have consistently been higher among unvaccinated people compared to the fully vaccinated.

              From a severity standpoint," he [Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s system director for infectious diseases] said,
              "this remains a pandemic of the unvaccinated.


              • mauī

                Have you thought about becoming a fact checker? When any counter science to a vaccine pops up, you could write counter articles on the greatness of vaccines.

                • Incognito

                  Silly comment; yeah, nah.

                  Let me ask you this simple question then: would you rather get infected with life virus and fall ill than be vaccinated with mRNA vaccine to stimulate your immune system to build a level of immunity? A personal choice question, in other words.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Have you thought about becoming a fact checker?

                  No – my perception is too selective.

                  Maybe you could have a go, if you can find the time in your busy schedule of seeking out and promulgating anti-vaccine opinions here.

                  Facts; pesky things, eh?

            • Incognito


              Since the science around Covid-19 is not settled by a long shot and the data about the vaccines are still coming in fast and furious, nobody has or can have the definitive word on this, if there ever will be one. Thus, many writings/communications do contain some validity and veracity that can be backed up by/with scientific evidence, some interpretation, and some speculation, for example. It is the latter where many go off track, because of wrong premise, wrong interpretation, wrong conclusion and/or engrained bias, for example. Almost never is it a simple right-wrong open & shut case; it is fuzzy & blurred aka grey area. Another common problem is the reductionist approach and ignoring context. Do you follow me?

              This thread started with the comment @ 4 and the first sentence was this one:

              It may well be that immunity comes from infection and vaccines are the way as many as possible survive infection.

              It was a poorly worded ambiguous sentence.

              However, @ 4.2 I provided two links with solid information and evidence for one plausible hypothesis.

              @ 4.2.2 you disagreed, as you would, with a link from a dubious source that was vague and lacked context.

              At least one fact-checker labelled it as “misleading”, which means it can contain some correct information but it is leading (the reader) down the garden path; it doesn’t even have to be deliberate and intentional. BTW, propaganda works in much the same way, as do scams and conspiracy theories; they all start with and contain an element to pull and suck you into the rabbit hole; this is deliberate and intentional.

              I have no interest in playing games to confirm one’s bias or settle false dichotomies.

              I invited you to do better, but you’re not playing ball, as you would. Instead, you accuse me of moving goal posts while you just kicked the ball out and off the field.

              Maybe you’d like to reflect on that because you do seem to do this a lot here.

              When challenged, you run and fall silent or you moan, but rarely do you come back with an adequate response that furthers the debate and helps us to gain more and better understanding, as outlined above.

              • SPC

                It may well be that immunity comes from infection and vaccines are the way as many as possible survive infection.

                Na, I would argue it's a fair comment of where we are are at.

                It's meaning is clear enough, so it is not poorly worded. And it's no more ambiguous than our circumstance warrants – playing the field in front of us as more information comes to hand.

                We now know that vaccines do not provide immunity. But if there is (and it does appear so) better (longer lasting) immunity by infection – what vaccines do do, is give us a better chance of surviving infection – less deaths, less hospitalisations, less long term COVID etc.

                So it also sums up where we are now at. We have moved from vaccinating for immunity, to vaccinating to reduce illness and hospitalisation.

                Which is on topic, the covid vaccine may not be the nirvana.

                So we are now back to where we began, a policy to get us below the curve to protect the health system from being swamped. Which should result in a focus on population health and health system capability, as a more important matter of nation state and society resilience.

                PS And of course vaccination which reduce rate of spread and assist other measures (mask wearing, temperature checks, rapid saliva testing at workplaces etc).

                [One can quibble about the safety and long-term effects of the Pfizer vaccine although all indications are that it is safe to use and does not cause long-term side effects that warrant and justify pausing or stopping it being rolled out. You can check these things yourself on the Medsafe page, as they are monitoring the side effects and any possible adverse events, which is their job.

                One cannot quibble about the fact that vaccines have made a major impact on Covid-19 so far. New variants arising is always an issue with viruses and corona viruses in particular. It is no different to the flu vaccine, which this year contains 4 different strains of which 2 are new to NZ (https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/influenza).

                Of course, vaccines provide immunity! For example, after a vaccine shot they have measured a huge rise in antibodies followed by a slower but longer rise in immune cell response. The increase in antibodies is stronger with the vaccine than from ‘natural’ infection.

                Again, you failed to provide evidential support for your reckons.

                You are spreading disinformation here on this site. Please go somewhere else for a month – Incognito]

    • spoff 4.3

      “Now an Israeli doctor has revealed a bombshell during a television interview. In the interview on August 5 with Israel’s Chanel 13, Dr Kobi Haviv, medical director of Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, stated that the majority of coronavirus patients in an Israeli hospital are fully vaccinated, including those with severe disease.

      Dr Haviv further specified that: “95% of the severe patients are vaccinated,” adding “85-90% of the hospitalizations are in fully vaccinated people”

      • joe90 4.3.1

        Of course Mr 'but my freedumb' Loiacono didn't bother with this bit.

        But Dr. Kobi Haviv, head of the Herzog rehabilitation hospital in Jerusalem, sided with Levy. “Overall, we don’t see any real difference in the illness compared to previous waves,” he said.

        Nevertheless, he does see a difference in how quickly coronavirus patients are arriving at his hospital, which receives patients from other hospitals. Currently, he has 34 patients aged 48 to 97, roughly half of them seriously ill.

        “During the peaks of previous waves, they would transfer 80 patients to us in three or four days,” he explained. “Now, it’s sporadic – two or three patients a day, not more. I hope that’s related to the vaccine moderating the illness.”


          • Incognito

            Textbook example of a nonsensical irrelevant reply.

            • spoff

              Please elucidate. I think that graphs showing both rising cases and deaths after 78% vaccination are extremely relevant. Willing to be disabused of this notion if I am wrong.

              [removed this text from user name: “Please explain your reasoning”]

              • Incognito

                Actually, it is you who should elucidate, as your reply @ didn’t address joe90’s comment @ 4.3.1 and if it did, you’ll need to make it clearer, e.g., how exactly. The onus is on you to explain clearly what the graphs show and why they disagree with joe90’s comment. As it stands, it comes across as a variation of ‘I spy with my little eye’.

                • spoff

                  I'm not here to argue, just to present some real World data. Make of it what you will.

                  [second time I removed this text from user name: “Please explain your reasoning”]

                  • Incognito

                    [second time I removed this text from user name: “Please explain your reasoning”]

                  • DB Brown

                    No, you're here to mimic the other clonal idiots, three I've counted here so far, with the exact same taken out of context quote.

                    You are at least disingenuous, and your defence of the out of context quote (a graph – to present some real world data – what idiot did you learn that sentence off?) is pathetic. Beats me why people choose the path of some other fools mouthpiece.

              • SPC

                Sure infections are back up and deaths are back up, but did you not notice that the rate of the former is much greater than the latter?

                Which would be consistent with the quote from Joe 90's post, that the number of hospitalisations was lower than before.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 4.3.2

        Opposite of what an ICU doctor in a UK hospital says

        'SENIOR INTENSIVE CARE CONSULTANT: Looking at their medical notes I know that all the Covid patients currently on the unit were offered the jab but that 90 per cent of those on ventilators here are unvaccinated. I understand this figure is roughly the same at most other units. It is a chilling statistic and one that makes me absolutely furious.'

        Deadly delusion of the 90 per cent: In a furious and haunting dispatch an intensive care doctor reveals the shocking proportion of Covid patients in his ward on ventilators who are vaccine refuseniks

  5. David 5

    Imagine one day moving to this level of discussion in New Zealand rather our current binary dialogue


  6. miravox 6

    The vaccine makers are losing the race against virus mutation variants. My anger at demagogue-like politicians and libertarian media commentators, conspiracy theorists and some rich bastards who came together to let covid run riot is unbounded.

    No wonder our govt is delaying the decision on a booster shot. Who even knows if it will be effective against the next variant that is still developing somewhere where they think we just have "to learn to live with the virus."

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Yep this is why everyone had to go for elimination to start coupled with vaccinations. Letting it run rampant has let it mutate …

      • weka 6.1.1

        it's also why at some point NZ will need to have an open and brave conversation about what our long term future is. NZH bullshit doesn't bode well for that.

        • miravox

          True. Going back to 'normal' is is not a good response. Normal is a constantly changing thing. It's just what a group of people are used to.

    • weka 6.2

      I also think we just don't know yet how things are going to play out, with the virus variants, with vaccine hesitancy (personally, I think if we had less aggro and more encouragement and education we'd get a better rate, the number of actual anti-vaxxers in NZ isn't that high), and with how people respond to stress and consequent expectations and tolerance over time.

  7. pat 7

    "At the time of writing, it has more than 50 ships waiting to dock. This is because the Ningbo-Meishan terminal, which handles about one fifth of the port’s total volumes, has been closed for a week after a member of staff tested positive for COVID. With still no word of a reopening, many more ships have diverted to alternative ports."

    [repeated text removed from quote]


    I dont see the Chinese closing down their second busiest port for one case of covid if the world is planning on 'living with covid' anytime soon….the powers that be around the world appear to be more concerned about the health implications of a rampant virus even at the expense of trade….that should tell you something.

  8. Paul Campbell 8

    I think that Israel is not really a particularly good example to draw any conclusions with – it's an apartheid state with large portions of its population not being vaccinated by the govt.

    In reality the current round of vaccines do provide respite from the virus, but the virus is evolving as we fight it, so long as there are reservoirs of the unvaccinated – both our internal crazy anti-vaxxers and poorer countries that can't afford vaccines – the virus will continue to mutate to beat the vaccines – that doesn't mean we should give up, it means we should try harder.

    One thing we see now is that mRNA vaccines are in general safe, mRNA AIDs vaccines are just showing up, and the technology to make new mRNA vaccines is incredibly fast (the vaccine we are currently getting was designed in a few weeks, but then took months of testing before it was approved) – knocking out a new covid-delta vaccine should be easier (I bet there are several already in early testing) and best of all the manufacturing and distribution systems have already been scaled up.

    I'd like to encourage everyone to donate to WHO's Covax program, if world governments wont do it on our behalf we need to do it ourselves.

    And of course get yourself vaccinated, take the boosters when they show up, it may take time but we'll eventually get through this thing hopefully with a minimum of death and long-covid

    • KSaysHi 8.1

      Repeating that the vaccine is safe doesn't make it safe – the long term effects are unknown.

      OpenVARS (this uses offical data from VARS and turns it into an understandable and easy to access form – no conspiracy as a recent hit piece has falsely claimed) has data on the known adverse events that suggest mRNAs are possibly one of the worst vaccines ever.

      It's not called the clot shot for nothing.

      [The Pfizer vaccine is the only in use here in NZ.

      Show that this is called “the clot shot” and why.

      Show why 0.4% rate of reported side effects in Iceland and also here in NZ means that it is “possibly one of the worst vaccines ever”. NB none one death has been attributed to the Pfizer vaccine in Iceland or NZ.

      Getting your disinformation from that dubious site is one, believing it is another, but spreading it here as fact will mean that you will have to provide extraordinary evidence for those extraordinary claims of facts and defend them. The onus is on you when you comment here.

      I’ve put you in Pre-Moderation until you provide a satisfactory response. If you fail, you’ll receive a medium-long ban because nobody is served with disinformation about the Covid vaccine in NZ – Incognito]

      • SPC 8.1.1

        Going onto, or being on, aspirin reduces that risk.

        And last year patients on aspirin did better than others (pre vaccines) because the illness itself increases risk of clots.

        • SPC

          But it all depends – doctors might prescribe something other than aspirin for this reason (Astra Zeneca)

          Jo Jerrome, chief executive of Thrombosis UK: "Expert haematologists advise against taking aspirin after AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine because it will not affect the occurrence of the very rare vaccine-associated thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VATT), which is driven by an immune response to something in the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

          "Furthermore, one of the problems with VATT is a low platelet count which means there is increased risk of bleeding. Aspirin will make this worse.

          "Outside of VATT in healthy people, aspirin's bleeding problems outweigh any benefits in reducing clots. Aspirin does have enormous benefit in reducing risk of further arterial clots however, in those who have had clots.


      • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1.2

        It's not called the clot shot for nothing.

        Jaysus – who's calling it "the clot shot"? Way to go KSaysHi.

        Have any NZ deaths been attributed directly to a trip to the 'jabattoir' so far? If not, then imho that would be remarkable onsidering the priority age demographic, and more than 2.6 million doses given.

        • Andre

          Oh jeez, I just googled "clot shot". I do hope the first few results are not a reflection of what google knows about my search history.

          But yeah, the sites calling the Pfizer vaccine the "clot shot" make Billy Te Kookiha look sane and sensible by comparison.

      • Incognito 8.1.3

        See my Moderation note @ 3:39 pm.

        • mauī

          That does seem a bit unfair given Ksays was giving their opinion on mRNA vaccines in a global context, not specifically NZ.

          Notice too how K says "suggest" and "possibly", which doesn't give the impression a fact was being asserted.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            mauī, there’s no "suggest" and/or "possibly" in KSaysHi’s one-sentence paragraph:

            It's not called the clot shot for nothing.

            I'm still none the wiser for asking who (apart from KSaysHi) is calling it that, but I can hazard a guess as to why KSaysHi typed that sentence – maybe you can too?

          • Incognito

            That does seem a bit unfair given Ksays was giving their opinion on mRNA vaccines in a global context, not specifically NZ.

            Excuse me?

            Where’s that “global context” and why would NZ be exempt/outside from that?

            Are you suggesting that KSaysHi was saying that mRNA vaccines are bad everywhere else in the world except in NZ?

            Is the Pfizer vaccine the only vaccine in use in NZ?

            Is the Pfizer vaccine one of the mRNA that KSaysHi was talking about?

            Does it cause blood clots?

            Is it called “the clot shot”?

            Et cetera.

            These are rhetorical questions, for you, and I don’t want you to attempt answering them; this is for KSaysHi and she back up her comment as per my Moderation.

            I want you to stop criticising my Moderation on this site and I think you know what I’m talking about.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.1.4

        And of course the very rare clotting side effect is so far associated only with non-mRNA vaccines, but who cares about details / facts?

        • Patricia Bremner

          Astrazeneca is known to cause clots in extremely few people. It is in use in Australia, but they are now switching more to Pfizer. Our Government chose the vaccine recommended by our experts.

          So far they have given excellent advice, and for a bunch of DHB's that the Health Minister politely called “silos” instead of “fiefdoms”, have with help from the ministry stepped up and the numbers going through now for testing and vaccines are pleasing.

          We have to nip false information in the bud!! Allowing it free reign in a pandemic would be foolish, and we are on a war footing with this virus.

          There are fortunate people who have never suffered privation telling us they are affected badly by having their freedoms and choices limited. Perhaps because they have not suffered hardship they think of lockdown as a hardship, "because"..

          The real hardship is loss of social situations, and the current spread sites show us how we enjoy gatherings as humans.

          Patience and delayed gratification are not qualities fostered by modern life. We have developed a "now" culture, and changing to queuing waiting and uncertainty of events and supply are new experiences for many here, but familiar situations for WW2 survivors.

          Skype Zoom MSM are great for connecting with family and friends, especially video calls. Counting 7 blessings in my life each day keeps me from grizzling. The list always starts with hubby Mia cat our sons, and 4 new ones for that day. Today 1. This site 2. email 2 friends in Australia 3. make our favourite dinner of Mushroom Rissoto 4. Plant our spring bulb pots.

          Perhaps we should be sharing a few coping strategies, so people log in to share those as well as our fears.

      • Incognito 8.1.5

        You have the option to withdraw your comment. Please don’t wait too long; I have a lot on my plate.

        I strongly suggest that you self-correct and self-moderate your future comments about Covid-19 vaccination to avoid being moderated again for spreading disinformation about the vaccine.

        • weka


          For those following, it's probably wise for people to provide links and explanations up front on controversial topics. Less chasing around by mods = better debate culture and community.

    • Rosemary McDonald 8.2

      Safe? Of course it is…. as long as you're not one of the unfortunates.

      Lets take hypervaccinated Iceland…240000 fully vaccinated and 2100 reported adverse reactions, 130 serious and 26 deaths…(which of course have nothing to do with the jab.)

      And NZ….in one week…There were 641 non-serious and 26 serious reports. 2 of these serious reports reported on deaths. (Which of course have nothing to do with the jab.)

      And Australia.… seems to be at the rate of 3.3 reports of adverse events per 1000 doses. A tad higher than one would expect from other vaccines. At least in Aus they admit the AZ jab can cause clots AND, bless them, actually tell the folks what symptoms to look out for so they can get prompt potentially lifesaving treatment.

      Acceptable? I guess that's where informed consent applies.

      • DB Brown 8.2.1

        From your Iceland link – "Most of the very oldest people in Iceland were given the Pfizer vaccine, which therefore appears to have performed particularly well…"

        Your second link states (and answers my question around this) "To date, the observed number of deaths reported after vaccination is actually less than the expected number of deaths."

        If the natural death rate is x, and the deaths after vaccines are less than x, the vaccine is not killing people.

        You third link… "We are closely monitoring rare reports of blood clots with low blood platelets (also called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS) which have been found to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine."

        And "This takes the total Australian reports assessed as TTS following the AstraZeneca vaccine to 112 cases (62 confirmed, 50 probable) from approximately 8.1 million vaccine doses."

        Adverse reactions include a sore arm. Much like after my tetanus shot, my MMR shot…

        As for the 3.3:1000 AEFI rate, can you point to it better, I can only see the example tout a similar figure, which is not the actual data.

        There will be people who shouldn't have the vaccine. Oil executives, media moguls, Mark Zuckerberg… OK, I'm being facetious now. But really, screw those guys.

        The saying 'seek and ye shall find' is especially relevant with the anti-vaxxers of today. Everywhere there's data there's someone misinterpreting it.

        Yes, there likely is a subset who can't be vaccinated due to pre-existing conditions, I just haven't delved that deep to identify who they are. Your doctor should know if you and your loved ones are ok or not. Unless you're one of the unfortunates with a quack in the local clinic.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.2.2

        Rosemary M, you emphasise rare adverse effects, make no mention of the benefits of the vaccines and minimise the negative effects of the disease.

        Looking at Australian data, it seems the Astrazeneca vaccine kills roughly 1 in 1 million recipients. At the same time, it protects against serious disease (including against Delta) about 90% of the time (or better). Protection is even higher when population-level effects are taken into account.

        Extrapolating to the USA, if you vaccinated 100% of the USA population with Astrazeneca, you would kill about 325 people with the vaccine. At the same time, you would have prevented at least 565,000 deaths to date, with more prevented in future.

        So for every person who died from the vaccine, you would save over 1,700 lives, and this is an idea of the risk:benefit for the less safe and less-effective Astrazeneca vaccine, not pfizer.

      • Brigid 8.2.3

        "And NZ….in one week" It doesn't say one week. It says,

        "Up to and including 31 July 2021, a total of 22 deaths were reported to CARM after the administration of the Comirnaty vaccine. Following medical assessments by CARM and Medsafe it has been determined that:

        • 15 of these deaths are unlikely related to the COVID-19 vaccine
        • 2 deaths could not be assessed due to insufficient information
        • 5 cases are still under investigation."
        • Incognito

          You’re reading it wrong. Rosemary said/meant this:

          “There were 641 non-serious and 26 serious reports this week. Sadly, two of these serious reports reported on deaths.” [taken from her link]

  9. Ghostwhowalksnz 9

    This is the sort of reader comments – which drew multiple support on NZ Heralds Fran Sullivan column

    'If Jacinta says be kind again I think I’m going to smash my tv'

    Its amazing for their heavily moderated comments that this was allowed… in the context of a violent act because they dont want to hear a woman talking on TV

    Their 'house rules' include not allowing, 'but get approved if its anti Ardern'

    • Comments that contain swear words, profanities or threatening language
    • Comments that are inflammatory or do not positively advance debate
    • KSaysHi 9.1

      Sad it's come to this.

      Complaint + onto the Media Council? Might be necessary to nip it in the bud

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 9.1.1

        This what Todd McClay was reported in Stuff as saying about Vaccination

        'The Government has known since the lockdown last year that Covid could get back in.

        “I would have expected that everything needed to make sure people were safe and could get their vaccinations done would have been done including basic PPE training.”

        Most of the comments who mention vaccination rollout use a similar wording…with the same two talking points or others. Its orchestrated for sure.

        • Anne

          Of course. Its been going on for yonks. The talking points get emailed out to them. Remember the [insert name here] scandal – leaflet drops in their electorates ostensibly the work of the local Nat MP. They got called out on that one.

          Conservatives and Tories normally don't have the ability to come up with their own talking points. They have to sing from the same song sheet because they can't be trusted to even know what their own policies are.

    • Foreign waka 9.2

      Ghostwhowalksnz, 9
      Its just frustration and some have more to bear in terms of stress when income is affected, kids schooling etc. And as to being kind, are you?

  10. georgecom 10

    The media are to be expected, they seem thus far to be a minority. The Hoskings esque moan if the borders are not shut, moan if they are. Moan if we go into a quick lockdown, moan if it is a bit slow. The predisposition is to moan. As someone saliently wrote in another thread, one persons catastrophisation does not sum up the entire vaccination roll out, nor the covid response.

    Thus far population compliance and response with Level 4 has been good, accepting the moaners, the blowhard opportunists like billy t kahika and the weak minded who swallow his nonsense. That will last a while. Queensland got their recent outbreak under control with a 10 day lockdown. I would suggest that's probably where we are heading, unless events take an unexpected turn. It runs 2 weekends, stops drinking and socialising around alchohol, cuts out weekend sport and church services. A late Sunday afternoon or evening change of restrictions. Beyond that I think the national tolerance and consent to a level 4 lockdown will fray.

    A look at the global picture of vaccinations can be found here, updated on a daily basis

    • georgecom 10.1

      corrections, some of the media comments are to be expected and national tolerance and consent to a level 4 lockdown will start to fray.

      • Patricia Bremner 10.1.1

        Fraying lockdowns in NSW encouraged by protestors crossing the Border from NSW to Queensland have put their efforts in jeopardy, my son told us last night.

        Dutton would not agree to temporary Border realignments to protect workers in Tweed Heads who worked in Gold Coast and daily commuted across. People rebelled as they saw that as unreasonable.

        Most people are reasonable, but this virus only needs one unreasonable person in the wrong place who is infectious. So Queensland waits.

  11. As for how progress goes in new vaccines to fight known and as yet unknown strains

    I don't like the look of this one much and, as every sci fi reader knows, as soon as you start messing with dna and genetics, that's when you get Children of Men and Rise of the Planet of the Apes going down. Not so much the % this one gets, but more the one's who follow, who go too far chasing the elusive rabbit.

    The three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 66% of those vaccinated, according to an interim study quoted by the vaccine maker Cadila Healthcare. The firm plans to make up to 120 million doses of India's second home-grown vaccine every year. Previous DNA vaccines have worked well in animals but not humans.

    I much prefer this approach which looks to, coupled with new data, improve on the already known. Much less dramatic to sci fi readers and future historians.

    People who were infected almost two decades ago with the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) generate a powerful antibody response after being vaccinated against COVID-19. Their immune systems can fight off multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as related coronaviruses found in bats and pangolins.

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